Tree plantations have expanded rapidly at the global scale. This paper examines the possibilities for smallholders to engage in plantations as a potential means for poverty alleviation. The paper analyzes the possibilities through an empirical study of household tree growing in rural Vietnam, with a focus on differences in the capacities of households to gain land endowments and translate endowments into tree entitlements. Employing Heckman regression models and qualitative institutional analyses, the paper finds that better-off households are more likely to possess forestland, grow trees, and invest in plantations than poor ones. In addition, land, plantations, and investment tend to be larger for the better-off than the poor. Better-off households are in a better position to engage in tree plantations due to, among other factors, the institutional mechanisms differentiating household access to land and finance.